12 trends of Christmas: A message from Mike Felton

The twelfth and final day in a series of 12 trends Australian Broker has looked at in 2018

12 trends of Christmas: A message from Mike Felton



The MFAA's end of year message to brokers, by Mike Felton

At the conclusion of a challenging year for the industry, I would firstly like to offer my sincere thanks to thousands of professional, hard-working and talented brokers who are representing our industry with distinction across Australia.

As we close out 2018, the final round of Royal Commission hearings has served to further confirm the key issues we must address with lenders and policy makers in 2019 to protect competition, customer outcomes and our industry.

It is now clear that at least one major lender has been specifically contemplating a fee-for-service model for a number of years, with the apparent aim of disrupting the broker channel to strengthen its proprietary channel and, in the process, saving $197 million over five years.

Our major challenge now and into 2019 will continue to be working with the entire industry to convince policy makers to defend competition and avoid entrenching power into the hands of the large banks, which would result in deteriorating consumer outcomes in terms of choice, price and access to credit for already-marginalised groups.

Treasury has acknowledged the importance of preserving competition in the home lending market, as have recent reviews by ASIC, the ABA and the Productivity Commission. Brokers drive competition by acting as a shopfront for smaller lenders, and vastly enhance access to financial services in rural and regional areas.

The MFAA will continue to stress to policy makers that the data on our industry is strong and indicative of an industry that is focused on producing great customer outcomes. It is worth noting that none of these regulatory reviews made findings of systemic consumer harm relating to broker commissions.

We will also have a multi-faceted campaign underway through the early new year; continuing to engage Government and regulators to ensure that the facts are strongly represented during the tumult of a Federal election campaign.

Alongside these campaign efforts, we will be calling on brokers to help raise their collective voices to support industry-wide action in promoting the broker industry at a time when we can achieve maximum impact in relation to the royal commission’s final report.

We will need all our members to join in and let our political leaders know that 27,000 jobs (and competition in the home lending market) are at risk, and that sweeping changes to broking remuneration will be great for major lenders, but bad for mainstream Australians.

At the same time, the Combined Industry Forum will continue to drive transformational reforms aimed at further improving customer outcomes and standards of conduct and culture, while preserving and promoting a vibrant and competitive mortgage broking industry that encourages consumer choice.

We look forward to continuing to work with our members and other key stakeholders in support of the industry in 2019.

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